The Football League Paper - - GRAHAM WESTLEY -

Se­condly, they tend to be phys­i­cally strong teams who are able to stay the course – teams who can drive through 17 games in 86 days with­out even con­sid­er­ing that they ‘ought’ to feel ‘tired’ at the end of a long sea­son, teams filled with play­ers who love play­ing foot­ball and who just want to win the next game.

Most teams in most divi­sions have good qual­ity play­ers at the level. The big­gest dif­fer­ence can be found in th­ese two facets of per­for­mance.

In days gone by, th­ese were Manch­ester United’s days. Sir Alex Fer­gu­son had his teams ready to at­tack games with that pos­i­tive men­tal­ity and a vi­brant en­ergy, forged at Car­ring­ton and driven the length and breadth of the coun­try. United ran on; United ran strong.

It is easy to look to­wards the end of a sea­son and pre­pare for the sum­mer break. But the break is not worth hav­ing if you don’t ar­rive there with ab­so­lutely ev­ery ounce of blood and sweat left in ev­ery shirt that leaves a field in ev­ery game. Th­ese are the days for teams who want to stand up and be counted to stand up and be counted.

Th­ese are the days for the best to sep­a­rate them­selves from the rest. I AR­GUED in the week that the Eng­land man­ager should be voted in by sea­son ticket hold­ers from the top 92 pro­fes­sional clubs in Eng­land.

In my view, those hard-core fans would have brought Brian Clough into the hot-seat back in the day and it is a foot­ball tragedy that we never saw Clough’s mer­cu­rial tal­ent lead­ing our na­tion to glory. A to­tal of 54 per cent of talkSPORT lis­ten­ers went with me in a marginal vic­tory for my ar­gu­ment.

I’d make much more use of sea­son ticket hold­ers, too. They are a sig­nif­i­cant group of peo­ple in the world of foot­ball; th­ese are fully com­mit­ted, fully in­vested peo­ple, with a se­ri­ous and deep-rooted pas­sion and com­mit­ment to the game.

Al­though there will al­ways be com­pet­i­tive in­flu­ences that af­fect cer­tain opin­ions from within their num­ber, I’d tend to trust the voice that emerged from the col­lec­tive.

The fans have a proper feel for the game. They know ul­ti­mately what is right and wrong for the game in our coun­try.

I sin­cerely be­lieve that if the peo­ple drove key de­ci­sions in the peo­ple’s game, we’d end up with a stronger na­tional sport; I have ab­so­lutely no doubt.

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